Sunday, January 17, 2016

Blog Post Plot

Well, here's the graph I promised in my last post. It took so long because I intended to take some features from the graphs I produce at work, but kept forgetting to copy the relevant code for perusal at home. As it turned out I only needed a little bit, and the graph was pretty easy to make once I sat down to do so. Anyway, here it is:

Click for larger version.
It's interesting to see the patterns that emerge. The early high count steadily drops around the middle of 2012, then after a little more variability seems to have settled into a surprisingly consistent alternating series of 2–3–2–3.

I really enjoy making graphs like this, iterating over and over, often dozens or scores of times, to get a graph that's both informative and aesthetically-pleasing (to me, at least). According to my terminal history, I ran the command to generate this graph sixty-two times, though of course a decent number of those time something threw an error and no new version of the graph was produced. And I'm reminded once again just how happy I am to have a job where I get to make interesting and beautiful plots—perhaps I can share some of them in the future.

Monday, January 11, 2016

Happy Sixth Anniversary, Blog!

Today marks six years to the day since I started this blog. Why is this the first such anniversary post on this blog, you ask? Because I thought it was only five years and had decided to write a nice “happy five-year anniversary, me!” post and only discovered it had actually been six years when I sat down to write it. (I suppose it's also a great demonstration of my normal facility for dates in general.)

I had an idea to make a plot showing the number of blog posts per month over the run of this blog, which in fact is what prompted this post in the first place. At the beginning of this blog I was putting out multiple blog posts per week; over time that ratio has flipped to several weeks per post frequently, and I'm curious to see exactly how and when that happened. Part of that is simply circumstances. Back when I started, I was a student, and despite a brutal scholastic schedule I could still find both the time and motivation for post-writing fairly frequently. Two years later and I've graduated, but taken a part-time job at the Mauna Kea Visitor Information Station. Due to the binary nature of that job (days completely off vs. days spent entirely at work) I still had a lot of free days to think up and compose posts. Finally, a year later, at the beginning of 2013, I took my current job with the James Clerk Maxwell Telescope. This was (and still is, thankfully!) a full-time job with regular hours, but the downside was that it left me less time in general for post-writing and fewer days where I wasn't already tired from working.

Now, I mentioned a plot in the previous paragraphs, but alas! there are no plots gracing this particular post due to technical difficulties and a missing python-tkinter package that doesn't want to install. I really want to see what it would look like, however, so expect a post showcasing it in the near future. So check back soon, and a hui hou!